Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Little Step Back

Was out of commission yesterday due to a migraine. Although I have been spared many physical ailments like the flu and colds since my husband's death, I do suffer from frequent and severe headaches. This one hit me in the middle of the night and I wondered if it had started from some of the stress I felt after attending a mandatory parent meeting at the high school for an overnight field trip my oldest is taking.

Monday was a cold and snowy night - my favorite kind of weather for trekking over to the school. The meeting started at 7:00 but my son needed to be at school at 6:30 for volley ball practice. So I sat in the parking lot not wanting to go in earlier and make small talk with the other parents and sit by myself. As always with these kinds of events, I end up feeling a bit down because most of the parents attending are together. You'd think that after six years I'd be more used to this but I am not. There is still a pang seeing myself as the odd man out and then feeling alone. It especially hits me at school events.

There was another pang when I had to write out a check for $95.00 to cover the cost of the trip. We just don't have that kind of extra money right now. But at the same time I want my son to have the opportunity to attend this trip. I went on some overnight trips in high school including Washington D.C. and want my son to have these experiences too. We're so cut to the bone financially in so many ways. Giving my son this opportunity seems to me the least he is entitled to.

Yet another pang when I had to approach the dad who is the treasurer for this organization and whom I personally know and ask him if the check could be held until the end of the week for cashing. There wasn't a problem with that but I still felt humbled and embarrassed at having to ask.

The issue of health insurance came up at the meeting and I want to avoid that topic since it is such a hot one for me. I am awaiting word on approval from our state insurance program, which I was rejected from last spring for making pennies (yes, pennies) over the yearly income base requirement. That was because my income from the big box store was included. This time when I applied, I was no longer working there so should be approved. But I am still waiting...

After the meeting, there was some time to kill because my son's practice wasn't over until 8:30. We're back to driving only the van now. I canceled the insurance on our second car that I was driving because of the cost. I plan on reactivating it as soon as I start work. But in the meantime, there are some logistical complications in figuring out where we'll all be and how we'll get there, mainly on nights such as this one where two people had to be at places at different times.

I left the meeting feeling drained and worried. I am just so tired. Internally exhausted. I don't know how else to describe it. I feel weary to the bone. All these years of stress and strain have caught up with me. There hasn't been a respite or a vacation. Just more to fret about. I began to think about the dire necessity of finding a full-time job but then the concern that I am so beat how am I going to manage it and be an effective parent? It is hard living and coping without the stress of work as it is. All those thoughts were weighing heavy on my mind when I went to bed.

When I got up with the headache I took the last two OTC migraine pills left. Usually, one dose kicks the pain. But not this time. I could barely make the drive for the a.m. school drop off and got sick in the van. I managed to stumble into Walgreen's where they thankfully had the brand that works well for me on sale for only $2.50 a bottle - Excedrin. I went home and took the pills with some Coke (for the extra caffeine) and had to go back to bed. Thankfully, I was able to get up and about by the time the boys were home from school and make dinner, etc. But then I found myself berating my need for having had to take the day off so I am now behind in job hunting, working on clearing out the storage shed and organizing my financial papers.

Today is a new beginning and I'm trying to be upbeat and positive. But it is hard in this cold, dark weather and I feel so exhausted inside and out. How does one restore their energy at times like this? I cannot dismiss the fact the losses of my recent life kicked me down to the gutter. There was too much that happened in a condensed time - this has taken a tremendous toll on me emotionally and physically. I am weary to the core. Hardly the go-get-em attitude I need to embrace for job hunting in this frigid winter weather. It is darn challenging to pump myself up and plant that smile on my face. Far easier to stay hunkered down inside, hiding.

Point being - I think that my situation shows that a significant number of losses makes it more difficult to "get over it," and move on. There has been more to grieve and it has taken me longer. Consequently, I am more depleted - the energy just seems to have zapped out of me. Also, I believe that those of us facing grief and loss in midlife have a rough time because at this age it is harder to bounce back as we did when we were younger. We're more set in our ways and physically less active. This makes for less resilience that we have to counteract with our own internal fortitude. It's not easy.

Today I am grateful for:

1. The opportunity my son has for going on this overnight field trip.
2. My sons passing all their classes (no summer school at this point).
3. The price break I got on the turkey burger patties I picked up at the store yesterday.
4. OTC migraine medicine that actually works.
5. A heated place to live and hide in.


  1. The day to day life as a parent. I want to say I hate it, but that would not be true. There is so much that we have to deal with, yet we carry around all of our own worries and hardships.

    I, too, avoid school interactions with other parents. I wish I was more comfortable around them, but it feels awkward being the single parent, and single now due to being a widower.

    Sorry to hear you are having migraine problems. Unfortunately, I know those as well. They are never pleasant.

    In spite of all this, you seem to be putting a lot of effort at maintaining some optimism. Your "grateful for" list is always good to read.


  2. Yes, Dan I am trying to make a concerted effort to continue to remain positive. I realize that all of us have up and down days so I am trying not to have the false illusion that all my days will be up ones - that just isn't possible for most of us. But even during the slumps I want to put on a brave face and take on the challenges with more hope than despair.

  3. I'm sorry you were ill - it makes the day to day stuff SO much MORE hard to contend with. Amazed you managed to find stuff to be thankful for - I know I couldn't have done!


  4. Thanks Boo. I'm better today and after being down a day I just really get how necessary our health is for basic functioning - and how we usually take it for granted. Now that is something to be really thankful for. I need to remember that when I compose my next list.

  5. I too get debilitating migraines, most of which strike in the middle of the night. Do you still have insurance? If so, next time you go to the Dr for something else(get a 2fer) and ask about Topomax. WHEN I had insurance I took it daily. It PREVENTS the headaches from happening at all!! It is a wonder drug. It just went generic too so the price has come way, way down. Unfortunately I do not have insurance so it is out of my reach right now. With the cost of a Dr's visit at $150 in order to get a script I just can't do it. I could probably squeeze out the price of the meds themselves but without a script I am out of luck. Luckily the OTC stuff will work if I catch it soon enough.
    I hope you are feeling better. I know they can be horrendous.

  6. Kelly - Sorry to hear you get the migraines too. The OTC stuff is fine for me right now, thank goodness they have it available so you don't have to go to the doctor. Back in the day, I knew of people who had to go to the ER when a migraine hit! I can relate to your situation with the health insurance. So many of us are out there facing this issue of being under insured or not having any. How soon will a program actually be up and running if our Government gets in gear and comes up with a plan? Are we looking years down the road or sooner? Just food for thought.

  7. I fear a "functional" workable plan is years away. I think we will probably get a few non-functional plans before one that actually works is devised. I think it is doable. In the meantime I will do all I can to stay as healthy as possible. I also have a few survivalist connections for antibiotics and such. That should see me through until something comes along.
    I have only had to go to the ER to break a headache twice. By that time I was out of my mind with pain. I am grateful that the OTC stuff works for the most part. I make sure I always have some with me.

  8. The whole national health insurance crisis scares me to no end. I admire your attitude of trying to stay as healthy as possible. Sure wish I had some survivalist connections right now. I also carry the OTC stuff with me at all times and it has been a lifesaver. I'm wondering if my migraines occur from the stress of widowhood or if I would have still gotten them regardless. I just know they're harder to deal with alone.

  9. I've had mine since I was a teen. They seemed to get worse after I had children. Hormonal not environment, LOL!!! Maybe, just maybe they will stop with menopause??? Oh what a gift that would be!!!
    Here's my email: I can send you my survivalist links and you can order what you need.

  10. I'll be contacting you via email - thanks!